(2/2) Answering Huff Post’s, Carol Kuruvilla, Thoughtful Questions Re: Tullian Tchividjian’s Return to the Pulpit: Cheap Grace and Cheap Forgiveness

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/multimedia/index.htmlHubble Captures the Ghost of Cassiopeia

“Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being nobody has become a celebrity.”—Jerome


I thought you might like to see the process involved when a reporter contacted me. I still remember being scared the first time I was asked questions by a journalist. Thankfully, my experience with Sarah Stankorb and the Washington Post helped me to enjoy and trust the proces

Carol Kuruvilla, a religion writer from HuffPost, contacted me and asked me to share my thoughts on Tullian Tchividjian’s return to the pulpit. Some of my responses to her questions would make their way into this post  Pastor Accused Of Sex Abuse Says He’s Ready To Preach Again. Advocates Aren’t So Sure. Subtitled: Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s grandson, has launched a new church. But critics say he’s misusing Christian teachings about God’s grace to give himself a pass.

I was impressed by the introspective nature of the questions that she asked me to answer. So, I made it a priority to answerer questions in a timely fashion (although my mom was upset because she was 15 minutes late for an appointment!)

So, here are her questions with my replies. I’m getting you all prepared in case you want to start a blog! 😎


Hi Dee,

I’m Carol, a religion reporter at HuffPost. I’m reaching out about the news that Tullian Tchividjian has  launched a new non-denominational church in Florida, just a few years after he was booted from his old church for sexual misconduct. Tchividjian has defended his return to the pulpit using Christian language about redemption, grace, and forgiveness. I wanted to hear from an expert about what you make of his return and if you think pastors like him can be given a second chance.

I have a few questions below — an emailed response works well or we could jump on a phone call tomorrow. Hoping to hear back before 12 pm ET tomorrow, if at all possible.

Question

Tchividjian has argued that what happened between him and his congregants was consensual and not an abuse of power. “I don’t care what role a person has, a consensual relationship between two adults is not abuse. And some of these people will try to make the case that, ‘Well, because you’re in a position of authority, it is abuse,’” Tchividjian said. “And I’ll go, ‘OK I can see how that has been and can be used by people in those positions.’ … (But) that just was not true for me. I was not abusing my authoritative role to try and find women.” What do you make of this argument?

My response

Throughout his tenure at his original church, Coral Ridge, and then at his second church Willow Creek, TT did not tell the full truth. At one point, he even blamed his then current (now former) wife of having an affair that drove him to having an affair. Therefore, I do not believe his narrative. However, I find it interesting that he wants to deny that he abused his pastoral privilege in order to engage in sexual situations with women.  The reason for this is quite clear. If he admits to abusing his pastoral privilege, he is guilty of clergy abuse. If he is guilty of clergy abuse, he knows he should not be a pastor. In order to be a pastor, he must present these affairs as mutual and consensual. It says to me that he knows that pastoral abuse is wrong so he is finding a way out.

Question

In starting his new church, Tchividjian’s argument seems to be that he has a unique story of redemption and grace and that his new church is a “safe place for broken people to break down and for fallen people to fall down.” He claims he’s actually in a better position now to lead a church. “The Christian community is the only ‘recovery institution’ in society that does not want former ‘junkies’ leading the way,” he said. “That creates a massive disconnect between leadership and the people in the church.” What do you make of his claim that he’s uniquely qualified to lead a congregation because of his past sexual misconduct?

My Answer

Let me refer to licensed counselors for an example. If such a counselor has a sexual relationship with a counselee, they will lose their license to practice. In some situations, they may even be arrested. A person who is going to their pastor for advice is in the same situation as those who go to a licensed counselor. They are vulnerable and in pain. Any pastor who uses that vulnerability to have a sexual relationship with his congregant should never step foot in a pulpit again. If he is truly repentant (and I am not convinced that TT is) he can rejoin a church as a member and share his experiences with others. He does not have to be in a pulpit to do that.

Question:

·  On his website, Tchividjian has posts from other pastors claiming that he has been rehabilitated. In your opinion, what would rehabilitation look like for a pastor who has Tchividjian’s past? What accountability structures do you hope to see set up at his church?

My Answer:

The terminology in the church is ”restored.”   TT found a couple of pastors out there who claimed he is fully forgiven. Sadly, some in the church believe in cheap forgiveness.  A truly repentant individual seeks out those he offended and asks for forgiveness. TT has a long list of people he needs to ask for forgiveness-the people in two churches, the women he abused, another blogger named Julie Anne Smith who he called a *****, his former wife. There have been no reports of TT acting in such a manner.

Then, this person is welcomed back in the church, not the pulpit. This is important. Restoration means being allowed back in the congregation and being allowed to take communion. For some reason, TT seems to want to skip this step. He wants the pulpit. Is it because that is the only way he knows how to make money? Is it a way for him to get back some measure of authority? Would he use that authority to hurt more women?

Tullian’s previous two church have said he should not be in the pulpit. He had his preaching credentials removed from the PCA. There are always pastors out there that will say what we want them to say. Sadly, these pastors did not to tell him to return to those churches and seek forgiveness and to reconcile. That, in my opinion, is an indication of the lack of depth in those TT consulted.

Make no mistake about this, the only ones who can forgive TT are those he harmed. His pastor friends have done him a grave disservice. They should have sent him back to attempt to heal the wounds he left behind.  They are preaching a cheap grace and forgiveness and TT is taking them up on their offer. TT knows this. He knows what he should do. He won’t do it.

Question:

·Ultimately, do you think pastors who engage in sexual misconduct should be given a second chance to lead a congregation and/or speak from the pulpit?

My Answer

It is my opinion that a pastor who has a sexual relationship with a member of his congregation should never return to the pulpit. Just as counselors, doctors, teachers or lawyers wouldn’t be allowed to return to their previous positions of authority/practice, a pastor who has a sexual relationship with a member/attendee should not be allowed to return to the pulpit.

TT’s brother, Boz Tchividjian, an attorney and leader of a GRACE, an organization which deals with abuse in the church has spoken out against such abuse. His group GRACE released this statement in 2016

GRACE Issues Statement of the Tullian Tchvidjian Scandal

 

I have also attached a recent tweet from Boz.

Let me be clear. I do not believe that a person who has committed such offenses against the church cannot be a contributing member of society or be forgiven. However, why should the church have lower standards than secular society when it comes to these issues? TT can use his talents to benefit the poor and let down in society once he has repented properly and sought forgiveness from those he harmed.


So, these question led to this post. I think she did a really good job at getting to the heart of the matter. So many of you are experienced in dealing with these question on this blog and other site. I bet most of you could have answered her as well or even better than I.

Pastor Accused Of Sex Abuse Says He’s Ready To Preach Again. Advocates Aren’t So Sure.

Comments

(2/2) Answering Huff Post’s, Carol Kuruvilla, Thoughtful Questions Re: Tullian Tchividjian’s Return to the Pulpit: Cheap Grace and Cheap Forgiveness — 127 Comments

  1. Phenomenal answers, Dee. If more church leaders had your courage and integrity, I might still be an actively ordained minister.

  2. According to TT’s victims, there has been no attempt at a restoration process. That’s all I need to know that TT is just a lying manipulator who really doesn’t care about ministering to people.

    I’ve been coming to the conclusion that character and the desire to truly minister to people should be the top 2 reasons for someone to enter into ministry. Many of these celebrity pastors are in it for themselves, and they will usually say things like, “I need to spend most of my time studying, so other people should do ministry” or “I don’t have time on my schedule to meet with that hurting person.” These people are not qualified for ministry, because ministry is centered on people.

  3. Ummm…isn’t it disqualifying enough that TT committed ADULTERY numerous times and then blamed his wife for his choices??? Yes, I get the former sinners (junkies, etc.) as good leaders argument but that’s supposed to be BEFORE you’re saved! Where’s the evidence that Christ has worked the transformation in the heart needed to be a trustworthy shepherd of vulnerable sheep? The whole thing reeks of narcissism!! And…the sheep that follow TT are blind and doomed to fall in the pit he’s leading them into….AGAIN!! God help them!!

  4. Dee, I don’t get here much.
    Your answers here…spot on…thank you
    Why should the Church lower it’s standards?
    God doesn’t!!

  5. “… his claim that he’s uniquely qualified to lead a congregation because of his past sexual misconduct …”

    Good Lord!! That’s like an auto mechanic saying that he is uniquely qualified to fix your car because he just wrecked his! What in the heck is wrong with church folks who so easily fall for this?!! It’s an argument that would have held no water in the 1st century church and should not do so now. The truth is, Tullian is uniquely ‘disqualified’ from leading a congregation because of his past sexual misconduct … a pastor-predator behavior with congregation-prey … a violation of trust between pulpit and pew … forfeiture of a sacred office.

  6. Note Tullian’s language that his new church is a “safe place for broken people to break down and for fallen people to fall down.” This is an image of people shattering into more pieces and falling further.

    I agree that people can’t heal in a highly judgmental church atmosphere. However, that idea has its limits. It’s one thing to shun somebody for wearing yoga pants. It’s quite another to point out the gravity of adulterous contact between pastor and member.

    Is freedom from judgment a sufficient theology (or even secular belief)? Does Tullian offer anything more in his shiny new judgment-free zone?

    “Some people think that I should just shut up and crawl in a cave and never come out because I’m not qualified to be leading spiritually in any way because of everything that I went through and everything that I did,” he said. “Other people champion it because they go, ‘It’s about time that churches are led by people who know what it feels like to, you know, fall on their face and be in the gutter.’” https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190817/exclusive-after-sex-scandal-billy-grahams-grandson-is-starting-church-in-palm-beach-gardens

    That’s it. The guy in the gutter speaks. The lame stay lame, the blind stay blind, the woman at the well stays put, the demoniac still has his legion. Nobody heals them. But at least nobody is judging them. Amen and hallelujah. Not.

  7. Friend: That’s it. The guy in the gutter speaks. The lame stay lame, the blind stay blind, the woman at the well stays put, the demoniac still has his legion. Nobody heals them. But at least nobody is judging them. Amen and hallelujah. Not.

    Whew! You have sufficiently painted the correct picture, dear Friend. God does not pamper you in your sin, nor raise up ministers and ministries that do. If you want healing and victory in your life, find someplace else to go than Tullian’s clinic. I suppose that sounds a touch “judgmental”, but God is also Judge – don’t forget. I know some folks have traveled through difficult valleys – tougher roads than I have been on – but Tullian does not have the right approach to putting you on the mountain. For one thing, he has proven that he is not a spiritual man – ministers of the Gospel should be spiritual you know (Holy Spirit, that is).

  8. ishy: According to TT’s victims, there has been no attempt at a restoration process. That’s all I need to know

    Yeah. Even apologies wouldn’t really be enough to fix the damage, but TT doesn’t seem to be doing even the bare minimum.

  9. Friend: because of everything that I went through and everything that I did

    Everything he ‘went through’ comes first, with ‘stuff I did’ as an afterthought. That tells you quite a lot too.

  10. Excellent post and excellent answers, Dee.

    I wish instead vacuous “worship” meaning come have an organic moment with Jesus (gag, wretch) we had more strong theological and doctrinal teaching. Then maybe folks would not get trapped by these “know all the answers” wrong abusers.

    It was good for me this weekend to be reminded of a few points of systematic theology:

    Arminians believe to continue in sin after salvation means loss of salvation plus temporal consequences. You can regain your salvation under modified Arminianism (with repentance), never under Reformed or classic Arminianism(even if repentant).

    Lutherans believe to continue to sin after salvation, without repentance results in loss of salvation and temporal consequences. I believe (correct me if wrong) some synods would teach that with repentance restoration is possible, others that it is not. Most I believe lean not.

    Real Calvinists teach that to continue in unrepentant sin after claiming salvation is proof the person was never saved to begin with. It does not teach a predecreed get out of jail free I can sin all I want and still go to heaven theology. Rather, if your bent continues toward sinning you have never been saved.

    Free grace teaches once saved always saved BUT that a continual bent to unrepentant sin may indicate never saved. If a saved person turns to unrepentant sin they are still saved but can expect strong consequences temporally up to and including early death, and will face a severe loss of eternal rewards in the judgment. In heaven, but definitely not the experience obedience would have brought.

    Not one of those systems teaches one can sin with impunity, has a get out of jail free card, or should expect temporal consequences to disappear with a declaration “I repented.” If you encounter clergy or leadership or for that matter anyone wanting any degree of “say so” or “speaking for God” in your life that is either in unrepentant sin or claims repentance and expects that to make all the temporal consequences go away, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. You are in the presence either of gross bad teaching or extensive evil or both

  11. Lea: Everything he ‘went through’ comes first, with ‘stuff I did’ as an afterthought. That tells you quite a lot too.

    Exactly. He went through stuff because of what he did! Some stuff is just worse than other stuff: having multiple adulterous affairs with women in your congregation is serious stuff for a man of the cloth. It’s disqualifying stuff … it’s the sort of stuff that demands permanent forfeiture of ministry … stuff that carries consequences. Tullian dragged a lot of others through his stuff: his congregation, his victims, his family, the Graham family, the greater Body of Christ. His stuff was visible because he was a celebrity who was full of self-centered stuff from the get-go. IMO, he should still be going through stuff because of the stuff he did. I don’t mean to rub his stuff in his face until he is annihilated, but he just doesn’t get it … yet.

  12. In reply to your posts about starting & running a blog. I’m not connected to any sort of a blog, I read here & v occasionally make a short comment i.e. my experience is extremely limited.
    It seems to me there are different roles involved in a blog like this one & future blogs being considered. I apologise if this seems naive or limited etc.
    “Finder outter” of situations
    Therapist to the people abused /involved
    Researcher
    Advocate
    Writer
    Moderator of comments
    Administrator of blog
    Explainer of theological aspects
    Protector of self
    It seems a lot of skills and work for 1 person. I’m wondering if different people who prefer specific roles could work together?
    I have nothing to offer, was just sat in sun contemplating. I’m extremely grateful to all who do this work & those who comment.

  13. My Answer
    Let me refer to licensed counselors for an example. If such a counselor has a sexual relationship with a counselee, they will lose their license to practice. In some situations, they may even be arrested. A person who is going to their pastor for advice is in the same situation as those who go to a licensed counselor. They are vulnerable and in pain. Any pastor who uses that vulnerability to have a sexual relationship with his congregant should never step foot in a pulpit again. If he is truly repentant (and I am not convinced that TT is) he can rejoin a church as a member and share his experiences with others. He does not have to be in a pulpit to do that.

    As a licensed counselor, allow me to congratulate you on a perfect analogy, Dee!

  14. Luckyforward: Any pastor who uses that vulnerability to have a sexual relationship with his congregant should never step foot in a pulpit again.

    You don’t even have to be spiritual or possess great wisdom to understand that truth, just some common sense.

  15. ishy: According to TT’s victims, there has been no attempt at a restoration process. That’s all I need to know that TT is just a lying manipulator who really doesn’t care about ministering to people.

    Cindy Meyers: Ummm…isn’t it disqualifying enough that TT committed ADULTERY numerous times and then blamed his wife for his choices???

    In both cases, 21st CENTURY AMERICAN EVANGELICAL MEGAPASTOR MATERIAL.
    Money! Power! Sex!

  16. And another thing … I wish Tullian would stop invoking the name of Billy Graham everytime he turns around, continuing to drag his family through his mess.

    On his website “Tullian: Sinner & Saint”, he writes “A grandson of (Evangelist) Billy and Ruth Graham …” Would a guy like Tullian have ever been granted the privilege to pastor a church if he wasn’t Billy Graham’s grandson? Would he be able to weasel his way back into the pulpit without dropping Billy Graham’s name? Does he have anything to offer to Christian ministry on his own merit?

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  18. Max: And another thing … I wish Tullian would stop invoking the name of Billy Graham everytime he turns around, continuing to drag his family through his mess.

    Max, if it wasn’t for his Big Name CELEBRITY Grandpa, Tee Tee would be as much of a Nobody as you and me.

  19. Max: I suppose that sounds a touch “judgmental”, but God is also Judge – don’t forget.

    Since a recent discussion about Lazarus going to heaven even though all he did was suffer, I’ve been thinking more about what sin is. It’s easy to cluck our tongues about things that are hammered home as sin by local definition, like short hair on women and long hair on men. (Yeah, there are clobber verses.)

    Did Jesus ever enforce standards in that way? It seems to me that he comforted those who suffered, and condemned those who caused suffering. The people around and after Jesus took a more detailed approach that we still puzzle about today, arguing about circumcision, food sacrificed to idols, etc.

  20. Dee, your comments are/were spot on for the article…
    My apologetic radar for some reason is going off, I am pretty sure what your response will be, but I have to ask.
    I agree with everyone that has said double T has forfeited his right to be behind a pulpit again.
    But by what standard have we all come to this conclusion ?

  21. Benn: I agree with everyone that has said double T has forfeited his right to be behind a pulpit again.
    But by what standard have we all come to this conclusion ?

    A lot of us have already answered that. He claimed he was “restored” by a couple pastors, but according to his victims, there has been no restoration process. Not only has there been no restoration, but he’s lying about it.

    The other issue is that being a pastor requires integrity. He claims pastors don’t need good character. Many of us disagree with that.

  22. Benn,

    “But by what standard have we all come to this conclusion?”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    if you’re looking for something biblical, i think the verses about elders/leaders being ‘above reproach’ suffices.

    but why must we justify everything we do with ‘biblical’?

    why must we be paralyzed until we have ‘biblical’ justification to proceed?

    kind of reminds me of a board game where you’re stuck until you roll a 1 or a 7. not allowed to act without a biblical pass, a biblical justification.

    i’ll continue rambling, here, by saying turning the christian life into an attempt to solve for biblical is a hassle and an impossibility.

    you end up looking like a hindu contortionist, and even then you’ll still be only partially biblical, with a fair amount of unbiblical.

    i’m certain God is not concerned with whether or not we dotted all the biblical i’s and crossed all the biblical t’s (to switch from math to grammar).

    ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ is largely common sense. the human race would not have survived this long without an innate understanding of what that means.

    common sense is the standard.

    common sense says a leader who exploits their authority is done. there are tons of other jobs and occupations they can do instead.

  23. First, let us acknowledge that we are dinners, fallen and broken. With that foundation, Jesus said in Matthew 18:6 that if you caused one of the children to stumble then it would be better that a large rock (millstone) be tied around their neck and thrown into the sea. So the question becomes, how many children stumbled as a result of that sin and the ensuing fallout?

  24. linda: Lutherans believe to continue to sin after salvation, without repentance results in loss of salvation and temporal consequences. I believe (correct me if wrong) some synods would teach that with repentance restoration is possible, others that it is not. Most I believe lean not.

    I think you are wrong in this. There is a coffee cup in The Lutheran store online that has saint on one side and sinner on another side. Lutherans believe that we do continue to sin after salvation and that we need to confess that which we do in every service before communion We are simultaneously saints and sinners. We are positionally holy but still sinning. Simul Justus Et Peccatore.

    linda: Real Calvinists teach that to continue in unrepentant sin after claiming salvation is proof the person was never saved to begin with. It does not teach a predecreed get out of jail free I can sin all I want and still go to heaven theology. Rather, if your bent continues toward sinning you have never been saved.

    All of the Calvinists I know sin. Everybody I know sins.To pretend otherwise is ridiculous. During confession in my church, we often admit to sins both known and unknown. Therefore, we sin and we don’t even know it. We may not come to the knowledge those sins during our natural existence.

    As for what constitutes unrepentant sin and how that affects salvation, I leave that in the hands of the One with the Higher Pay Grade. I just know this. Jesus does forgive us all if we are repentant when we realize that fact.

  25. Benn: But by what standard have we all come to this conclusion ?

    Good question. Many Christians believe that the governing bodies have been put into a position of authority by God. ( I will have questions about this in heaven BTW.) Many also believe that through the common grace given to us by God, we can ascertain right from wrong.

    In the US medical personnel like doctors and nurses will lose their job by beginning a sexual relationship with a patient oder their care. The same goes for licensed counselors. Same with teachers. Most business today will not allow a boss who is superior to continue a relationship with a subordinate and continue to work together.

    (This is not an endorsement of either the network or those involved. Merely an example that I happened to read about online.) For example, Jesse Waters at Fox News took uo with a very young associate and left his wife and twins over this relationship. He did not get in trouble because he and the woman confessed to the relationship in the early stages and signed forms that this was a non coercive relationship. The subordinate was removed from her position under Watters and given another job in which she would not be affected by an unequal power differential.

    Now, can you imagine what would have happened to TT if he came forward in his PCA church and said he was carrying on a mutually agreed upon affair and he and his multiple women said they would be willing to sign a document…Churches would agree that this is not a SOP for pastors.

    Churches should not have lower standards than secular society. We can learn from similar positions in the secular world. So, if my cardiologist husband did something like Tullian, he would have his medical license stripped and most likely end up in prison. See what happened to Larry Nassar when Rachel Denhollander came forward for an example!

    If the pastor want to be involved in Christian work after he has exhibited true repentance, let him go. the local rescue mission and help-he can clean, make food and maybe even do a message. But taking advantage of someone by using his clergy position…

  26. elastigirl: why must we be paralyzed until we have ‘biblical’ justification to proceed?

    I don’t have any patience for this either. I could scare up biblical ‘justification’ for all sorts of things i just don’t see the point when it is so very obvious.

    Could we not just agree that there are some things that are actually really bad qualities to have in a ‘spiritual leader’ of any kind? I wish we would be more strict about things that have nothing to do with sex, honestly. Greedy, mean spirited persons ought not be in ministry roles either. Let’s have more standards, not less.

  27. ishy: A lot of us have already answered that. He claimed he was “restored” by a couple pastors, but according to his victims, there has been no restoration process. Not only has there been no restoration, but he’s lying about it.

    The other issue is that being a pastor requires integrity. He claims pastors don’t need good character. Many of us disagree with that.

    Ishy, I am just curious if we “all” are applying a biblical standard to remove double T.
    And I will say again, this guy should never be behind a pulpit, with any spiritual or biblical authority ( IMHO)

  28. dee, when we confess our sins we are not unrepentant, are we? It is only deliberate unrepentant sin that can cause loss of salvation in Lutheran theology. They do not teach once saved always saved. LCMS is clear on that. That is definitely rejected. Hauge’s were a little more closely aligned with the holiness movement of their time. ELCA retains the Brief Order of Confession and Forgiveness but pretty much rationalizes away personal sin. WELS and ELS also expect repentance and a changed lifestyle. Smaller synods may vary. 20 years a Lutheran did teach me a wee bit.

    I did not say Calvinists think they do not sin. In fact they teach that we will always sin daily in word, thought, and deed. But when someone is saved (as in really saved, not just a profession of faith) they clearly teach it should cause us to a) repent quickly when we do sin and b) not be pursuing a life of unrepentant sin.

    In other words, they believe in the perseverance of the saints rather than the preservation of the saints. Those that do not persevere (shunning sin and repenting when they sin, for they will sin) but rather continue to live in deliberate, chosen sin show they have not been saved. I am not a Calvinist but that IS classic Calvinism. Calvinistas on the other hand seem to see it differently.

    What none of those systems, including and especially Lutheranism, teach is that one can believe in Jesus for salvation and yet defiantly and deliberately continue a sinful lifestyle and have/maintain/retain fire insurance. To be sure the saved sin–all of them do teach that, even most holiness churches. They vary as to the beliefs on what constitutes repentance, on what the results of unrepentant sin will be, and on the remedy if indeed there is a remedy for the believer who chooses to become a rebel. Calvinists excepted, for they would say if you appear saved and later rebel and never repent you were never saved.

    Scripture makes it pretty clear we are to discern, but not judge. I cannot tell if a person in bondage to any particular sin (gluttony, lying, stealing, adultery, homosexual behavior, idolatry, greed, whatever) is contrite about that sin, truly heartbroken no matter how often they fall. So along with you I leave that in the hands of God. He, on the other hand, can indeed tell who is repentant and who is not, and the systematic theologies are based on His point of view, not ours.

    But it surely would help if those in any of these systems understood their own system’s teachings on sin. Might make them a whole lot less prey to the abusers hiding in the pulpit.

  29. Benn: I agree with everyone that has said double T has forfeited his right to be behind a pulpit again.
    But by what standard have we all come to this conclusion ?

    By the righteousness of God. Scripture clearly sets forth how believers should live – by a holy righteous standard which demonstrates a behavior pleasing to God. In the case of “masters” (church leaders, pastors, teachers), God turns up the heat:

    “Not many of you should become masters, my brethren, for you know that we will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation.” (James 3:1)

    Tullian did not demonstrate a behavior pleasing to God. By the righteousness of God, the Body of Christ (of which TWW believers are a part) can stand in judgment by applying His Holy standard to the matter at hand and come to this conclusion. We “do not judge by appearance [superficially and arrogantly], but judge fairly and righteously” (John 7:24).

  30. linda: Lutherans believe to continue to sin after salvation, without repentance results in loss of salvation and temporal consequences. I believe (correct me if wrong) some synods would teach that with repentance restoration is possible, others that it is not. Most I believe lean not.

    Does this mean that if I continue to jaywalk I’m goin’ ta’ hell?

  31. Why is he fighting so hard for a physical brick and mortar church? Technology is advanced enough to get his sermons to the world.

    Is it the media that has taken interest in his ministry? Or, is TT trying to gin up anything to keep him in the spotlight? TT’s crimes are real. Is he just operating under the assumption that any coverage is good coverage?

  32. Brian: Why is he fighting so hard …

    In Tullian’s version of “grace” (cheap grace), he has convinced himself that he is right and those in Christendom calling for him to step down are wrong. He’s living an upside down Christian experience, where he has substituted his moral standard for God’s Holy standard. Antinomianism is a pitiful thing to watch and an unhealthy spiritual environment for those attracted to it.

  33. Benn: Ishy, I am just curious if we “all” are applying a biblical standard to remove double T.

    That wasn’t in your original post. And I don’t think we have to have a purely “biblical” standard. I would apply those basic standards to a secular group leader, why not a pastor? Why not especially a pastor, who in many ways acts like a secular counselor (which TT has admitted himself he was acting in such a capacity).

    If we add the biblical standards on top of that,such as 1 Peter 5:2, “not for shameful gain”, it would disqualify nearly every celebrity pastor around.

  34. Brian: Is it the media that has taken interest in his ministry? Or, is TT trying to gin up anything to keep him in the spotlight? TT’s crimes are real. Is he just operating under the assumption that any coverage is good coverage?

    The primary reasons may have nothing to do with faith. He wants to be in the spotlight, and in a very well-known Christian family, being a pastor is the only way to do that. I knew a bunch of people at Liberty that thought the exact same way.

    There are a myriad of other things these celebrity faux-pastors could do. They just seem to be incapable of seeing that.

  35. TT reminds me of this verse, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife” (1 Cor. 5:1). A married man sleeping with a bunch of women in a group, breaking up his marriage, and then running away from his wife and kids to be with his new wife would likely be grounds for him to be kicked out of leadership of a secular group. But TT claims that Christians have to “let him” because we all do horrible things like that and everybody is just being mean to him. But he should continue to lead coed groups and people should just give him money to do it.

    I’m in a few community groups, and they’ve banned people for much lesser things.

  36. Benn: I am just curious if we “all” are applying a biblical standard to remove double T.

    The interesting thing about your question is how it assumes everyone, by default, is qualified to be a pastor, and that one can only be disqualified by obviously failing some kind of “biblical” standard. But isn’t it the other way around?

    The other challenge is defining “biblical.” For example, does it mean marrying one’s half sister and luing about her being the wife? Or marrying two sisters and their personal slaves? Or having an affair and then killing the husband in order to hide it?

  37. ishy,

    Ishy,

    At the end of the day, these people simply have no shame, and until and unless the potential pew-sitters wake up and say NO!, it’s just going to go on and on and on, no matter what we say, no matter what Dee posts here.

    I’ve been following this blog for years, and I’ll tellya what, there’s a sameness to it after a while. And since I first started learning about this stuff, I’ve had the same question:

    Why? Why to people put up with and enable this garbage?

    I guess that’s what it boils down to. It really starts to seem like the ‘pastor’ biz is one big hustle…

  38. roebuck: At the end of the day, these people simply have no shame, and until and unless the potential pew-sitters wake up and say NO!, it’s just going to go on and on and on, no matter what we say, no matter what Dee posts here.

    I’ve been following this blog for years, and I’ll tellya what, there’s a sameness to it after a while. And since I first started learning about this stuff, I’ve had the same question:

    Why? Why to people put up with and enable this garbage?

    Yeah, I agree. I wish I didn’t. And I think that’s why these guys target Christians. Because they do “enable this garbage” because they are “nice”. Though I think a lot of Christian “niceness” is just pure laziness.

  39. ishy: Though I think a lot of Christian “niceness” is just pure laziness.

    Yes, that or just obliviousness, as they go about their busy lives and check off the “go to church on Sunday” box.

    Or maybe a lot of folks just equate Christianity with “being nice”, and not making waves. I really don’t know.

  40. The story of Hophni and Phinehas comes to mind with men like TT who try to excuse their adulteries.

    In two sentences for those unaware of the story of these two bros:
    The brothers were priests who slept with women serving at the temple and stole. God cursed them.

  41. ishy: The primary reasons may have nothing to do with faith. He wants to be in the spotlight, and in a very well-known Christian family, being a pastor is the only way to do that. I knew a bunch of people at Liberty that thought the exact same way.

    With Tullian being a full narcissist IMO I am sure he missed all the attention he had as a pastor with his speaking most weeks on Sunday. Thus craving this attention he sought to get back in the pulpit.

    It would be one thing if Tullian’s actions were with one woman and was short lived and not hidden for a long period of time. Maybe under that scenario an exposed pastor could eventually be restored to ministry. Tullian was a serial adulterer and repeatedly hid his sin for long periods of time and thus IMO has no business ever being a pastor again.

    Tullian broke a trust repeatedly.

    Sadly it looks like enough are willing to support and overlook Tullian’s serial sin.

  42. Steve240: Tullian broke a trust repeatedly.

    I can’t understand why his followers don’t get this! Tullian didn’t just have an isolated moral stumble with one of his church members. He had multiple sexual affairs, a betrayal of trust between pulpit and pew, a god-awful level of sin by someone who called himself “pastor”, but who was obviously not called to that sacred office.

  43. A couple of thoughts have been percolating in contemplation of this story —

    * where is the “fear of God?” TT surely knows the trouble David got into when he gave unbelievers grounds to blaspheme the name of YHWH. Doesn’t TT know that these stories are there for our instruction?

    *Paul gloried in what he suffered for the sake of the fulfillment of the commission he received from Jesus. TT seems to glory in how deeply he can transgress without passing out of the ambit of God’s mercy. It has the feel of something approaching, “let us sin that grace may abound”.

    * It seems to me that one of the more sobering metaphors that one finds in Scripture is the husband/wife analogy of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5, but this appears quite a bit in the OT as well in terms of God/Israel). “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church” is a high calling. Surely pastors ought to be good examples to the flock of this. Can TT claim to be such an example?

    * Does TT really think that outsiders (or insiders, for that matter) can honestly regard him to be a “one woman man”?

    I’ve given up on the evangelical movement, and things like this just reinforce my sense that that was a wise move.

  44. ishy,

    ““Let the termination of Dr. McRaney stand as an example for any other autonomous Southern Baptist church and convention who dares to stand up to the power and might of the North American Mission Board,” said the appellant brief.”
    +++++++++++++

    i suspect he feels like gospel royalty of some sort.

    (kind of like princess michael of kent, a commoner who married a shirt-tail relative, and seems to feel entitled to royal treatment, indulging princess-dom & wearing her crown).

    like, it’s beneath him to work, to be, to exist as the worldly commoners do. his lineage means he is entitled to the spotlight and saintly power and prestige.

    it simply wouldn’t be proper for him to be anything other than a powerful celebrity for God.

  45. TT:
    ““I don’t care what role a person has, a consensual relationship between two adults is not abuse. And some of these people will try to make the case that, ‘Well, because you’re in a position of authority, it is abuse,’” Tchividjian said. ”

    Oh good grief.
    Is that not one of the very criteria that is used by states that have passed CSA laws, and why psychiatrists can’t diddle around with their patients and so on?

  46. Spiritual impairment, moral unsoundness, and bereftment of character, makes for a ‘winning’ combination, don’t you think?

  47. roebuck: Yes, that or just obliviousness, as they go about their busy lives and check off the “go to church on Sunday” box.

    Because that is so much easier than contemplating the enormous oppression, inequity and injustice that prevails in our world. Heaven forbid we have to actually question the way we live, our economics, our consumptive lifestyle, etc, etc.

    I’m speaking to me, btw. I grew up in this ‘church’ world, and lived in it most of my life. Only now, nearing 60, am I beginning to wake up to the bigger problems in the world, and the responsibility we all have to at least take a stand. I am ashamed, overwhelmed and, sometimes, near despair at how little I have cared, and how little I have figured out to do to make a difference.

    It was so much simpler when being a christian meant just going to church and being pro-life. Being pro-life was so much easier when it was just condemning girls who have abortions. It is much harder when it entails considering the health, safety and well-being of every creature on the planet as important as your own.

    I guess I am just so past ‘Is my church the best it can be?’ when that means having a charismatic enough speaker to draw people who hate church and a recording quality band. I grew up where church involved a well-meaning but inept speaker, and the music was all volunteer; I would still take that over Megachurch. I’ll take the one where everyone sells their homes and gives to the poor over the ones that have pastors with multi-million dollar homes.

  48. Benn: But by what standard have we all come to this conclusion ?

    As a society, we have come to the conclusion that people in certain positions of authority must not have sexual relationships with the people they have authority over under any circumstances. It’s not just religious authorities. It’s an issue with people in certain authoritative positions using their power in unethical and illegal ways to extract sexual favors from a client or parishioner or student or arrestee or defendant or….It’s ethically bad (and also possibly illegal, depending on the state and the facts of the case) for a lawyer to have a sexual relationship with a client. So too with judges, police officers, teachers, professors, mental health professionals, doctors and no doubt other professions I’m not thinking of right at the moment.

    So it’s not a religious thing. It’s a societal thing, where society has decided as a matter of law and practice, based on experience, that professionals with authority have the potential to abuse that authority. It’s too bad that some religious professionals have issues with oversight in this area.

  49. One thing we’ve learned about God’s grace is that there is no end to idiots abusing it.

  50. Samuel Conner, Samuel…you nailed it! These verses seem applicable..”…God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” Romans 1:28 and 1 Thessalonians 2:10,11 “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Romans 1:24 and 25 “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” What god is TT following?

    New International Version (NIV)

  51. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: As a society, we have come to the conclusion that people in certain positions of authority must not have sexual relationships with the people they have authority over under any circumstances. It’s not just religious authorities. It’s an issue with people in certain authoritative positions using their power in unethical and illegal ways to extract sexual favors from a client or parishioner or student or arrestee or defendant or….It’s ethically bad (and also possibly illegal, depending on the state and the facts of the case) for a lawyer to have a sexual relationship with a client. So too with judges, police officers, teachers, professors, mental health professionals, doctors and no doubt other professions I’m not thinking of right at the moment.

    So it’s not a religious thing. It’s a societal thing, where society has decided as a matter of law and practice, based on experience, that professionals with authority have the potential to abuse that authority. It’s too bad that some religious professionals have issues with oversight in this area.

    I understand your position. But what would you do/ think if society took a major regression, and moved dramatically from today’s norms, because if it’s only what the societal norm, would that give you pause, or would you move with it?

  52. Brian: Why is he fighting so hard for a physical brick and mortar church?

    I know what you mean, but an actual church building made of bricks and mortar would be a step down for him. So far he has been preaching at a Hilton in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The website for The Sanctuary says they are moving this coming Sunday:

    Launching September 22 @ New Location: South Florida Society for Arts and Culture

    Both are lovely venues, and that’s a problem: exactly who would feel comfortable worshiping in a hotel ballroom or at an arts venue in Palm Beach Gardens?

    Methinks he is not aiming his message at ye poor and afflicted.

    Humor: Palm Beach Gardens has 12 golf courses, ample inspiration for pastors to develop those all-important golf sermons.

  53. elastigirl: i suspect he feels like gospel royalty of some sort.

    like, it’s beneath him to work, to be, to exist as the worldly commoners do. his lineage means he is entitled to the spotlight and saintly power and prestige.

    Yeah. There’s really nothing higher than to be a lead pastor in these Christian families where their whole lives revolve around church. It’s like they can’t conceive of anything actually happening outside of church.

  54. Benn: But what would you do/ think if society took a major regression, and moved dramatically from today’s norms, because if it’s only what the societal norm, would that give you pause, or would you move with it?

    I think that’s a Christian myth.

    So many Christians want to believe that they are so much better than non-Christians that they have perpetuated a myth that all society is pure evil and churchgoers are “good”. But we’ve seen over and over there are individuals who do a lot of bad things inside the church. And a lot of people who are just living normal lives. They are apathetic to extremes, because extremes require too much work. I don’t think churchgoers have proved to be any different than the rest of the secular world.

  55. Cindy Meyers: What god is TT following?

    Scripture talks about “the god of this world” who has blinded minds. TT has acted with a blind mind when it comes to moral failure and he is leading others blindly with his antinomian belief system. TT is following the god of this world.

  56. Benn: My apologetic radar for some reason is going off

    I first heard of Tullian Tchividjian on TWW awhile back. Before posting a comment about him I asked myself if I was being a mere keyboard warrior, aiming smugly from an anonymous pillbox.

    Tullian admits to the facts, though, and the facts have been reported in many places. To what others have written here I would add that military officers in comparable circumstances might be charged, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, with fraternization, adultery, and conduct unbecoming an officer.

  57. Daisy: ““I don’t care what role a person has, a consensual relationship between two adults is not abuse. And some of these people will try to make the case that, ‘Well, because you’re in a position of authority, it is abuse,’” Tchividjian said. ”

    A lot of this gets into what we ought to consider consent. I don’t necessarily think every relationship with a power imbalance is abusive, but you have to look at the specific dynamics – for instance are you leveraging the power you have over someone to get ‘consent’ that you would not have gotten otherwise?? Because that would be an obvious problem.

  58. ishy: I think that’s a Christian myth.

    Ooh. I like this answer.

    Anyway, we have a real situation in front of us, it’s not really necessary to answer it in hypothetical. If Benn wants to argue that TT should be totally cool to cheat and lie and steal and completely unrepentant about it, then preach and we should respect him? Well, he should make that case.

  59. Benn: I understand your position. But what would you do/ think if society took a major regression, and moved dramatically from today’s norms, because if it’s only what the societal norm, would that give you pause, or would you move with it?

    Societal values change with time. The Bible doesn’t. I am not saying that this is always a good thing. The Bible was written 2 thousand and more years ago, and plenty of it reflected and therefore frozen in the societal values of the time.

    Slavery and polygamy were the norm (and allowed) in the Bible. It was acceptable (e.g. for Joshua and David and other) to invade a neighboring country, kill off its population and/or take captives to be slaves, and carry off their possessions as plunder. All these are highly illegal under (most) current societal norms. I would wholeheartedly say moving with societal norms (at least in these cases) is for the better.

  60. ishy: So many Christians want to believe that they are so much better than non-Christians that they have perpetuated a myth that all society is pure evil and churchgoers are “good”.

    This also seems to be true for most clumpings of people. It seems to be pretty common for any group to feel superior to all the other groups. But when it involves religion it can be much worse because of the implicit backing of some kind of god(s).

  61. Lea: Ooh. I like this answer.

    Anyway, we have a real situation in front of us, it’s not really necessary to answer it in hypothetical. If Benn wants to argue that TT should be totally cool to cheat and lie and steal and completely unrepentant about it, then preach and we should respect him? Well, he should make that case.

    Lea, I restate my opinion, I think double T is a fraud, and most likely only wants to be in a position of power for $$ and for the aforementioned power,

  62. ishy: I think that’s a Christian myth.

    So many Christians want to believe that they are so much better than non-Christians that they have perpetuated a myth that all society is pure evil and churchgoers are “good”. But we’ve seen over and over there are individuals who do a lot of bad things inside the church. And a lot of people who are just living normal lives. They are apathetic to extremes, because extremes require too much work. I don’t think churchgoers have proved to be any different than the rest of the secular world.

    Ok, but what has that got to do with me asking a general question to see by what standard are we using to say he is disqualified ( and let me say again he has disqualified himself from the office of pastor)

    I’m just curious if there is a consensus on what standard got us to view that he can’t/ shouldn’t ever pastor again?

  63. Benn,

    Fine ok, then why are you consistently asking people to justify their objections if you agree with them? Are you attempting to narrow down how badly you can behave before someone calls you out, or what?

  64. Lea: attempting to narrow down how badly you can behave …

    … and still be “Christian.” That essentially is the premise of antinomianism. Tullian is a poster-child for the spread of antinomian belief and practice in certain corners of the evangelical world.

  65. Lea:
    Benn,

    Fine ok, then why are you consistently asking people to justify their objections if you agree with them? Are you attempting to narrow down how badly you can behave before someone calls you out, or what?

    I
    Like I said, I am just curious to see how many of us are basing their view on a biblical position
    And how many are basing it on something else
    I don’t mean to cause any angst, do you ever wonder what motivates people in the decisions they make?
    I’m basing mine on a biblical worldview, and just curious how many others are doing likewise, that’s all

  66. Benn: I am just curious to see how many of us are basing their view on a biblical position
    And how many are basing it on something else

    I’m basing mine on a biblical worldview

    Ha. Ok.

    so you ‘agree’ with everyone’s assessment but you have decided they didn’t get there the right way because you don’t think they got their your way and you are trying to make them say that???

    This isn’t a great look.

  67. Benn: But what would you do/ think if society took a major regression, and moved dramatically from today’s norms, because if it’s only what the societal norm, would that give you pause, or would you move with it?

    Of course that is the case. Think of the Nazis.

    However, to entirely dismiss societal norms, especially those which do not violate Scripture or even those that track with Scripture, is dangerous. Common grace is given to all mankind. I am not talking about just the sun rising and setting each day. Common grace also results in some laws and norms of society that are good. For example, children no longer have to work in sweat shops in the US. It is illegal. This is common grace.

    The fact that US society has begin to condemn men who prey on women (or any gender) is a good that tracks with Scripture. The fact the NAMBLA has extremely limited support shows that our society understands sexual relations with children are wrong unlike Paul’s day in which *house boys* in Rome were were accepted.

    I am of the opinion that Judeo Christian values have successfully impacted culture. The idea of having an abuser in the pulpit is repulsive and offensive to the many victims of abuse out there. Also, common grace has been given to the medical/psychological, sociological communities.The Bible does not teach us about the psychiatric problems associated with paraphiliac. Many abusers are wired to carry out their sordid acts. However, with proper oversight and training, they can be taught not to respond to those impasses. For many, the impulse never goes away but they learn to control it.

    Therefore, we don’t put alcoholics to work in a brewery although I’m sure there are some there. To put a person who abused his position by manipulating women should never be put in that position again. Deep down inside I knowyou know what I’m saying. He’s given up his pastor’s papers.

  68. Lea: Ha. Ok.

    so you ‘agree’ with everyone’s assessment but you have decided they didn’t get there the right way because you don’t think they got their your way and you are trying to make them say that???

    This isn’t a great look.

    Lea, everyone has a worldview, everyone makes decisions within their own prejudices
    You make comments and critique people on many of your comments
    Are you saying by just asking someone how did you reach that opinion, is inherently demeaning to them?

  69. Benn: Are you saying by just asking someone how did you reach that opinion, is inherently demeaning to them?

    I said nothing about anything being ‘demeaning’. You have been ‘just asking questions’ not critiquing. That is why I asked what your intentions were. You were coming off as squirrley. Still are, honestly.

    People who are squirrley are often hiding their intentions ‘just asking questions’. I’d rather see them state them upfront.

  70. Benn, you should know the answer to your questions by now. You’ve been participating here long enough to realize there are people here from all walks of life, and all manner of philosophical backgrounds. You must know that not everyone will have a “biblical” basis for agreeing that TT belongs nowhere near a pulpit.

    Benn: Like I said, I am just curious to see how many of us are basing their view on a biblical position
    And how many are basing it on something else

    Why do you want to know? What does it matter “how many of us” have the same basis for their opinion as you? How is that even important to this conversation?

  71. Daisy: “I don’t care what role a person has, a consensual relationship between two adults is not abuse. And some of these people will try to make the case that, ‘Well, because you’re in a position of authority, it is abuse,’” Tchividjian said. ”

    His thoughts and beliefs on this subject go no further than his self gratification. This tells me all I need to know about TT.

  72. Benn: I’m just curious if there is a consensus on what standard got us to view that he can’t/ shouldn’t ever pastor again?

    Why do we need a consensus? There may be several and differing standards among us by which TT falls short.

    Rom. 2
    13For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. 14Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.

  73. Benn: Like I said, I am just curious to see how many of us are basing their view on a biblical position
    And how many are basing it on something else

    And that something else may well be written on our hearts by God.

  74. ABC123:
    The story of Hophni and Phinehas comes to mind with men like TT who try to excuse their adulteries.
    In two sentences for those unaware of the story of these two bros:
    The brothers were priests who slept with women serving at the temple and stole. God cursed them.

    Best comment yet!

  75. Benn: Are you saying by just asking someone how did you reach that opinion, is inherently demeaning to them?

    I’m calling sea lion.

  76. Lea: People who are squirrely are often hiding their intentions ‘just asking questions’

    I’m beginning to think that Benn leans antinomian himself. While coming across as agreeing with other commenters, he then tosses “Is that what God said?” into the mix appearing to support Tullian while saying that he doesn’t. Squirrely.

  77. Friend,

    My thought was that if he had brick and mortar building, he could then feel some legitimacy. He had taken over one of the flagship churches in the Presbyterian denomination. Then he blew it.

    I’m guessing that a physical church building would enable him to say, “look I’m back” to the outside world.

    I started with my question to see what others thought.

    I forgot the name of the pastor, but there was a televangelist in the 1980’s who was arrested for solicitation. The church attendance at his church dropped by half after that.

  78. Benn,

    “I’m basing mine on a biblical worldview, and just curious how many others are doing likewise, that’s all”
    +++++++++++++

    hi, Benn.

    I appreciate your honest question.

    i suspect it’s bugging people because it implies there is only one biblical world view, and anyone who doesn’t have it is a lesser being.

    it also it implies that your interpretation of ‘biblical’, as informing a worldview, is the only correct one.

    as has been demonstrated here many times, there are many differing conclusions in christendom as to what things in the bible mean. they can’t all be right.

  79. ABC123:
    The story of Hophni and Phinehas comes to mind with men like TT who try to excuse their adulteries.

    In two sentences for those unaware of the story of these two bros:
    The brothers were priests who slept with women serving at the temple and stole. God cursed them.

    Whomever is looking to start a blog to put the spotlight on the predators within the church, “Hophni Watch” or “Phinehas Watch” have a nice ring to it.

  80. Lea: I don’t necessarily think every relationship with a power imbalance is abusive,

    I would argue that by definition, what TT did is “abuse of flock”,regardless of the presence or absence of consent. Shepherds aren’t supposed to relate to the sheep in this way.

  81. Benn,

    re: “biblical worldview” — in all seriousness, that is a slippery concept. As has been noted, there is a great deal (and of course, the boundaries of this are contested) of seemingly morality-relevant content in Scripture that looks to be significantly accommodated to the cultural standards that prevailed at the time the documents were written. And, as the documents were composed over a long period, some of the cultural standards changed. A single notorious example: polygyny is unacceptable in 1st century Pauline epistles, but completely unremarkable in OT historical narratives. The culture had changed.

    Here’s a wonderful (“wonderful” in the sense of “crystalline clarity”) example of a Pauline argument “from nature” (and it’s not clear whether Paul himself believed this, or was simply assuming his readers’ beliefs for the sake of argument) that simply isn’t applicable today in the way it was applicable to the original audience:

    https://nakedbiblepodcast.com/podcast/naked-bible-86-the-head-covering-of-1-corinthians-1113-15/

    This isn’t meant to stir controversy, just to note that, as others have mentioned, there isn’t a consensus on what “biblical worldview” is.

  82. __

    501c3 Pulpit ‘Jokers’ Are Wild: “Forever Pastoral Man, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Allowing one’s candlestick to remain firm in its place although they ‘weren’t’ willing to heed His calling, and make the sacrifices necessary to be called His disciple, —let alone His educator, and spokesman?

    Intermission:
    Eric Clapton – “Forever Man”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QPUMMwPU9WY

    ;~)

    – –

  83. __

    501c3 Pulpit ‘Jokers’ Are Wild: “Forever Pastoral Man, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Allowing one’s candlestick to remain firm in its place although they ‘weren’t’ willing to heed His calling, and make the sacrifices necessary to be called His disciple, —let alone His educator, and spokesman?

    Intermission:
    Eric Clapton – “Forever Man”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QPUMMwPU9WY

    ;~)

    – –

  84. Samuel Conner: “I would argue that by definition, what TT did is “abuse of flock”,regardless of the presence or absence of consent. Shepherds aren’t supposed to relate to the sheep in this way.”

    I’m honestly getting kind of grossed out by some of the shepherd/sheep metaphors (maybe it was Boles comment yuck).

    I think Tullian’s actions were pretty unacceptable, although some of the details are escaping me at the moment. I can, however, conceive of an unmarried minister having an above board, fully consensual relationship with a parishioner. The details matter. It would look quite different from what Tullian did, imo.

  85. Lea: I can, however, conceive of an unmarried minister having an above board, fully consensual relationship with a parishioner. The details matter. It would look quite different from what Tullian did, imo.

    I think a huge difference in an “above the board” relationship would be the secrecy. When my husband and I were dating (he was a pastor, I was at a different church), everybody knew. The elders, our families, our friends, his congregation, etc. in no particular order. Did anyone other than Tullian and his victims know about their “relationship” while the “relationship” was still ongoing? Not really.

  86. Brian: T.T. can’t return to the pulpit based on Jude 4.

    Agreed. Tullian’s theology allows him to “abuse His grace as an opportunity for immorality” (Jude 4) … which of course is cheap grace and not Grace at all.

  87. Brian:
    Lea,
    Does this include a non-sexual relationship?

    Does what include a non-sexual relationship??? Are you talking about when a friendship is appropriate, because I think usually that is appropriate.

  88. @WildHoney

    Yes! Keeping a relationship secret is generally a giant red flag, no matter what kind of a relationship it even is.

  89. Lea,

    Consensual can infer sexual relations. TT’s relationships included sex. I was looking for context and clarity.

  90. Brian: Consensual can infer sexual relations.

    In context, ‘consensual relationship’ means a romantic relationship between two unmarried, uncoerced, consenting adults. I am not speculating on whether or not they are having sex in my comment.

  91. Brian: I remember now Jimmy Swaggert, the cousin of Mickey Gilley and Jerry Lee Lewis.

    I tend to prize the human honesty of Micky Gilley and Jerry Lee Lewis, and accept them as flawed human beings, rather than the manufactured pretense of men like Swaggert.

  92. Muff Potter:
    Muff Potter,

    Off topic, but what the hell.
    I’m thoroughly engrossed in Ken Burns’ Country Music, currently airing on PBS.

    We ran into that last night as well. It had me doing some googling to get more information. Quite interesting in light of an upcoming trip to Smokey Mountain NP and then Nashville.

  93. elastigirl: as has been demonstrated here many times, there are many differing conclusions in christendom as to what things in the bible mean. they can’t all be right.

    Look at it from this angle:
    In differing frames of reference and coordinate systems, they all be right.

  94. Muff Potter,

    elastigirl: as has been demonstrated here many times, there are many differing conclusions in christendom as to what things in the bible mean. they can’t all be right.

    Muff: Look at it from this angle:
    In differing frames of reference and coordinate systems, they [can] all be right.
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    yeah, i didn’t finish my thought train. which was no one perspective is the one and only right one and thus all others are wrong.

    ‘they can all be right’ — i do think square circles exist with God. so, yes, i think contradictory things can both be true with God.

    except for something like patriarchy = female subordination in practice. the biblical interpretation that leads to this can’t be right.

    perhaps they can all be true, as long as none of them crosses the boundary of ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ / treating others the way you want to be treated.

    i dunno… brain tired (taking some classes that are tying brain up in knots for the purpose of learning the way out and remembering how i got out).

    what are the faults with my reasoning here? (I’m ignoring john piper if by chanced he answers).

  95. Muff Potter,

    me, too!

    how in the world have i been oblivious Loretta Lynn’s story?!?

    fell asleep looking at pictures of the cabin she grew up in. (not sure if it’s the original, or if it’s a recreation).

  96. elastigirl: the biblical interpretation that leads to this can’t be right.

    I think sometimes we need to look at that bad tree bad fruit idea…something that leads to terrible treatment of others seems pretty likely to be a bad interpretation?

    Beyond that we’re all just sort of trying to figure it out.

  97. Lea,

    “I think sometimes we need to look at that bad tree bad fruit idea…something that leads to terrible treatment of others seems pretty likely to be a bad interpretation?

    Beyond that we’re all just sort of trying to figure it out.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    maybe that’s my thesis statement of my faith right there.

    (i’d like to give it a name…) it just feels weird having a faith with no name.

  98. I don’t know if “cheap grace” is really the issue. Frankly, I think it’s a red herring. The real issue is deception and fraud. He is presenting himself as repentant when there is no evidence of it. Whether grace is cheap or not, he hasn’t even made it to the first step of accessing it. If he had truly repented, God’s grace is certainly more than sufficient (but does not allow for him to return to the pastorate). But, if he hasn’t, then to pretend God has extended grace to him is deception and fraud. He has not yet even told the truth about what he did. He has not yet brought forth even the simplest fruit of repentance, so whether grace is cheap or not is a moot point.

    He says, “The Christian community is the only ‘recovery institution’ in society that does not want former ‘junkies’ leading the way.” Since when is the “Christian community” a recovery institution? It is a community of believers in Jesus Christ. A new way of life that reflects a new mindset is not the same as recovery. Secondly, who says he is a FORMER junkie? Where is the evidence of that? Only he says so and, of course, he has a conflict of interest.

    The church is not a 12 step program. Maybe if he manages to recover from his sex addiction, he could aspire to leading a recovery group for that. However, he will have to go through that pesky step of admitting what he’s done and making restitution TO HIS VICTIMS, which he has not been willing to tackle thus far, and which gives the lie to all of his posturing.

  99. Brian: Is he just operating under the assumption that any coverage is good coverage?

    Narcissists thrive on attention, they have to be front and center one way or another.

  100. ishy: Yeah, I agree. I wish I didn’t. And I think that’s why these guys target Christians. Because they do “enable this garbage” because they are “nice”. Though I think a lot of Christian “niceness” is just pure laziness.

    I would agree; there is an intellectual laziness, if intellectual is the word I want. A desire to just have simple black & white rules to live by so you don’t have to think, examine, weigh, or use any kind of judgment. Either we’re all forgiven, all the time, or it’s too complex to think through. Just grab a verse (a sound byte), jump on the bandwagon, and you’re done having to think. Yet the Bible places a high value on wisdom, on learning to differentiate between good and evil. There are nuances in life, many factors to consider, experience and observation to take into account, but Christians, by and large, just want to be told what to think and not have to do it. It’s like they have never gone from the stage of childhood where your parents determine what you are to think and do to the one where you begin to think and reason yourself. Arrested development. Follow the leader. It feels safe maybe? They don’t have to take responsibility or be able to explain or defend how they came to a conclusion? And then they end up making the most absurd decisions and judgments sometimes, totally ignoring the obvious. There is so much superstition and magical thinking. Sorry if I sound frustrated, I just have been through so many exchanges and situations that leave me scratching my head.

  101. Benn: Like I said, I am just curious to see how many of us are basing their view on a biblical position
    And how many are basing it on something else
    I don’t mean to cause any angst, do you ever wonder what motivates people in the decisions they make?
    I’m basing mine on a biblical worldview, and just curious how many others are doing likewise, that’s all

    I think I see what you are getting at. If he truly was repentant, and had changed, and that wasn’t in question, should he be allowed back in the pulpit? This is where the Bible would say no. According to the lists of qualifications for elders and deacons and teachers, he has disqualified himself.

    I think in secular culture this is something currently being tested. The big important dudes who were felled by Me Too want to get back into business, just like TT. In that situation, also, it feels wrong. If a person has truly changed, they would not want to get back into the position they held when they were using and abusing and committing crimes against people. The fact that they want to step right back into the limelight and place of power they used to hold is a testament against them.

    Tullian, btw, is what we used to call a womanizer. He’s a predator. This is his longstanding way of being, it’s who he is. Why would anyone consider putting a predator over sheep?

  102. SiteSeer,

    If that is what he is telling the press, imagine his sermons. Is anyone being saved through his church?

    When HUG and Annette were discussing affinity groups and fandom, if I’m correct, this would have to describe those who go see him preach.

  103. SiteSeer: According to the lists of qualifications for elders and deacons and teachers, he has disqualified himself.

    Certainly. He has disqualified himself from ministry, but evidently not from his fan club.

  104. Brian: If that is what he is telling the press, imagine his sermons. Is anyone being saved through his church?

    Does it matter to his groupies in the pews?

  105. SiteSeer: “The Christian community is the only ‘recovery institution’ in society that does not want former ‘junkies’ leading the way.” Since when is the “Christian community” a recovery institution? It is a community of believers in Jesus Christ. A new way of life that reflects a new mindset is not the same as recovery.

    Excellent points.

  106. SiteSeer: There is so much superstition and magical thinking.

    Like that group that thought their prayers stopped a hurricane from moving, but did not notice the hurricane had stalled over a populated and developed island?

  107. SiteSeer: He says, “The Christian community is the only ‘recovery institution’ in society that does not want former ‘junkies’ leading the way.”

    Uhhhh … the matter at hand is not that Boles ‘might’ have been a junkie … the issue at hand is that he has been a “pastor” who couldn’t keep his pants on.

    We once had a pastor who had previously been the town drunk. After he witnessed his father being killed in a barroom fight, he did some serious soul-searching and came to Christ. One of the best evangelist-pastors we ever served under … and he kept his pants on!

  108. Max: the matter at hand is not that Boles ‘might’ have been a junkie

    Whoops … meant to say Tullian, not Boles … these guys are all running together at this point (actually, they are in a sense).

  109. A Christen body of believers are required by divine instruction to follow biblical standards. The body of Christ is of supernatural origins; i.e. Christ through the Holy Spirit. Any deviation is a violation of scripture. ‘This brings corruption to the original intent of scripture, and to the body of Christ directly. The intent of scripture is well documented. Any deviation brings into being a counterfeit, and is subject to some form of divine judgement. Individuals pursuing leadership that don’t follow the biblical standards are considered counterfeit would-be shepherds, and are also considered by the Bible as those who jump the wall for unbiblical purposes. They are to be regarded scripturally as thieves and robbers, —considered as such, and delt with accordingly.